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Historic move saves tax payers money

PUBLISHED: 18:48 31 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 March 2010

TAX payers have been saved more than £800 after a town council unanimously agreed to co-opt a new member for the first time in its history.

The historic move meant that there was no need to hold a by-election and avoided the expense of running the polling stations and count.

TAX payers have been saved more than £800 after a town council unanimously agreed to co-opt a new member for the first time in its history.

The historic move meant that there was no need to hold a by-election and avoided the expense of running the polling stations and count.

The vacancy on Felixstowe Town Council was created by the resignation of Labour councillor Jane Sharman.

Mrs Sharman, who had represented the West Ward, Walton, since she was first elected in 1995, and worked on the Felixstowe Old People's Welfare Association, has moved to Ireland.

Councillors were told the cost of a by-election would be around £800. Normally town elections take place at the same time as district council elections and so only a part of the costs fall on the town council.

The council decided co-option would be the best move and all parties agreed that Labour party member Don Smith – who lost his seat in Central Ward at the last election – should serve as a councillor until the next full elections.

Mr Smith, who was proposed by Labour councillor Dennis Carpenter and seconded by Conservative Andy Smith – served for many years on the town council, has been deputy mayor, and is a current county councillor and has twice been chairman of that authority.

Andy Smith, chairman of the plans committee, said: "This council has always had a tradition of fighting elections as political parties, putting a firm and fair choice before the electorate.

"This is an unusual situation that we have decided to co-opt, having decided not to have an election on this occasion.

"We gave it some considerable thought but came to the conclusion that this was the right way to proceed for a number of reasons.

"Normally an election is held simultaneously with a district council one and the costs are shared between the two authorities and this time it would have been a relatively expensive exercise.

"Don Smith is a candidate who is well respected by all political parties in the town and we have the added bonus that he is a county councillor, too."

WEBLINK: www.felixstowe.gov.uk


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